When It Comes To Marketing, Choose Sales Enablement First.

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If you’ve ever spent time talking to a marketer, you’ll probably find yourself dreaming of all the could, should, and possibly a lengthy wishlist.

Switch gears.

Think about the time you’ve spent talking to a decision maker. Do you find yourself discussing the bottom line, return on investment, and action steps? The next time you are in either of these situations, start talking about sales and sales enablement.

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What is sales enablement?

Sales Enablement is the middle man of sales and marketing. Some other relevant terms about this are demand generation and lead generation. In today’s day and age, if sales and marketers are not working together they will be spinning their wheels and not reaching full potential.

According to HubSpot, sales enablement is the technology, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity.

Sales enablement should not be the sole responsibility of one person at your company. It should be a company wide initiative and culture shift to support inbound sales and marketing efforts. Sales and marketing take the lead.

The importance of this business tactic is to provide a scalable method for the business to grow by providing sales and marketing the resources to generate leads and referrals, close new business, and upsell existing business.

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How should sales enablement be implemented?

Great question. It depends on your business, organization, and company goals. There are however, some hard and fast items to consider:

  1. Get a baseline for sales, marketing, and the company overall. What does your sales process look like? What are your marketing benchmarks and key performance indicators? Have you defined lifecycle stages? How are leads qualified? Is there a lead scoring system? (5 Reasons You Should Consider Lead Scoring)
  2. Once you have a clear process in place and define, add technology to it for better reporting and analytics. (The Very First Step in Setting up Google Analytics)
  3. Organize your sales content. Figure out what you’ve got, how to improve it, what you need, and what can be pitched. Some examples of sales content includes: portfolio and case study assets, pitch and demo decks, competitive comparison charts, ebooks and one pagers, pricing information. Use these assets to build a resource library.
  4. Create case study and portfolio items first. Fun Fact: Did you know four times as many buyers prefer video over written content. However video can be a much longer process. Outsourcing this task may get the job done much quicker. In the meantime, focus on the client opportunities and content that will be produced. From there you can have a written and video version.
  5. Create email templates to support the buyer journey and frequency asked questions. Did you know your team should be able to access sales enablement resources in one minute or less? Your sales folks will be more likely to share content marketing creates if it is already in a template that is easy to find, where all they have to do is personalize it.
  6. Automate and use technology to your advantage. Tools like HubSpot Professional will allow client facing team members automate prospect and client communications, leverage booking calendars to eliminate the back and forth – when are you free conversations, and utilize direct messaging with live chat.

What are the sales enablement trends for 2018?

1. HAVE A CRM.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System is critical. Gone are the days where excel sheets and post it notes are acceptable. Your data gets stale and outdated almost immediately.

Transparency, open communication, and reminders are difficult to manage and scale. If you are resisting technology, you are already falling behind. With contacts needing to have the ability to opt-in, ask for more, receive email notifications and company newsletters – you are creating havoc by not transitioning your data into a central location for sales, marketing, customer service, and leadership can all access the same up to date information as needed.

2. INCREASE IN AI WITH CHATBOTS.

Chatbots are in. Simple responses to questions, automated sales sequences, response evaluation, and decision making are all items that come along with this technology tool. If your company can accept and embrace artificial intelligence, it is a guarantee you will see an increase in productivity and profits.

3. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENTS

According to Elizabeth Mazenko from Better Buys, “Although most companies admit employees are the lifeblood of their business, few invest the time, energy and money it takes to develop the skills workers need to improve the bottom line (and boost that competitive edge).

When done well, offering continued training and professional development has three major benefits:

  1. Employees are more invested in business goals and more loyal to the company’s values.
  2. Employees can perform their duties better, allowing them to increase performance and feel more confident in their positions.
  3. More top talent is attracted to your company, which helps you make better hiring decisions in the long run.”

Companies that invest in professional development opportunities like lunch and learns, conferences, and carved out time to watch webinars, take training classes, and mentor programs. At Pinckney Marketing, professional development is a huge part of our culture and what sets us apart as the agency industry continues to evolve.

4. SALES AND MARKETING DEPARTMENTS ALIGN AND SHIFT TO REVENUE GROWTH TEAMS

Dan Tyre at HubSpot preaches religiously on the importance of companies shifting their mindset from siloed sales and marketing teams to a more holistic approach on growth teams. With 93% of people using search or social to do their due diligence on companies and people they want to do business with, marketing is involved in potentially 80% of the sales process. Service Level Agreements between sales and marketing are crucial to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction, has the same company revenue goals, and understands their role, responsibility and expectations.

According to Forbes author Matthew Cook the founder and CEO of SalesHub, “the goal of sales enablement is to improve sales performance to maximize revenue. This doesn’t end at content.”

Sales Enablement + Premium Content Examples

  1. eBooks
  2. Courses
  3. Trials
  4. Demos
  5. Audits
  6. Contests
  7. Cheatsheets
  8. Checklists
  9. Email Series
  10. Email Subscriptions
  11. Guides
  12. Kits
  13. Original Data & Research
  14. Podcasts
  15. Slideshare Presentations
  16. Templates
  17. Events
  18. Tools
  19. Free apps
  20. Webinars
  21. Combo Offers
  22. Whitepapers
  23. Workshops/Online Classes/Certifications
  24. Events/Conference
  25. Educational Games
  26. Gated Long Form Content/Ultimate Lists/Research/Chapters of of a book
  27. Gated Video Content
  28. Live Chat
  29. Reports
  30. Quizzes
  31. Freebie – Strategy Session

Do you have other content ideas? Throw em’ in the comments below. Want help aligning sales and marketing? Check out our Inbound Marketing and Sales Guide!